Feeling overwhelmed is a common refrain nowadays. In this endlessly changing world, emotions run amok during the course of a day, and even keeping to a schedule can seem insurmountable sometimes. I experienced this myself these last few weeks, and spurred by the knowledge that action makes me feel better, I began to make note of spellwork that helped me resist feeling overwhelmed and stuck.
Be Like Water Sit still for a few minutes and slow your breathing. Four part breathing works best here: count to four as you breathe in, hold for four counts, breath out for four counts. Now, imagine yourself floating in water, in your favorite location. Remember that buoyant feeling? Float along like that for a bit, and think of all the different ways water flows throughout your life. Bruce Lee has been quoted as saying, “You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip, and it can crash. Become like water, my friend.” Feel yourself flow like water in a stream or a river. The water does not stop for branches or obstacles, it flows through or around, and keeps on moving. Once you feel yourself resonating with this feeling, open your eyes, and face the world again.
Check in with your deity Spend time at your altar, and pour out your overwhelm with your deity. Ask for their guidance, for the good of yourself, and the good of all. Meditate, or gaze into the flame of the candle. Is there something to be learned here? Have you gone down a rabbit hole from an action or thought? Have you over-scheduled or isolated yourself beyond a comfortable level? Are you feeling down on yourself? Be still, and listen. You may find answers in your quiet time with your deity. Be open to their response.
Practical Spellwork Don’t have time to cast a circle, do a full ritual, or just not in the mood? The most practical spellwork is the simplest. I was feeling overwhelmed with negative commentary in my own head the other week, and it came to me: do a list. Lists calm me down, and help me focus. The twist here is not to just catalog an endless list of complaints or things gone wrong: divide the paper into two sections. One the left side, write down what the issue is, and on the right, come up with two ways to relieve your feeling of overwhelm about it. For example, I wrote: SO MUCH TO DO. You felt that along with me, right? Two solutions: tackle one project at a time, and write a list in order of importance of things that needed to get done. It lessened the feeling of panic and utter helplessness in the face of this situation. As Aleister Crowley once noted, “Every intentional act is a magical act.” That one intentional act felt magical and helped me feel better.
Ritual for the Overwhelmed
Get out your cauldron, and your banishing oil (recipe below if you need a quick one).
Cast your circle, consecrate your space with clearing incense, smoke or Florida water.
Ask your deity and ancestors for their guidance as you focus on that which overwhelms you
Write on slips of paper that which is overwhelming you
Anoint the papers with banishing oil
Ignite each individual paper, saying “Away with this overwhelm, burn away!”
Focus on feeling refreshed and renewed as you watch each slip of paper burn away.
Enjoy some cakes and ale as part of your refresh & renew
Close the Circle
Mix the following, and place into a bottle or jar:
3 tbs. olive oil
9 drops each peppermint and cinnamon oil
1 sprig rosemary
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp peppercorns
1 lemon rind peel
Mix together, saying: “Let this banishing oil cleanse and protect me. May it dispel all negativity and discord.” Add your own personal magical intentions as well, and let mixture sit in container in a dark corner for a week. Strain, keep remaining oil in a labeled jar, use as needed.
Set Boundaries Boundaries can help you feel more in control when your overwhelm feels out of control. A simple thing such as setting a time limit for a project, or blocking off a schedule to check things off your list can help you feel a bit more capable, and less overwhelmed. Say no to things that don’t help you feel better, including that pint of ice cream. It goes down easy, but afterwards doesn’t feel that great. Set boundaries with your friendships, especially with people who you suspect don’t want the best for you, or seem competitive with you. Instead, spend time with people who do have your best interests at heart, and encourage you.
Get out in nature The quickest and easiest spellwork I do is to get outside and revel in nature. Hug a tree, walk barefoot, wade in a creek or simply gaze at the scenery. The change of location is a quick boost, and you can ground and center yourself while eyeing up the vast world around you. Even a city park or greenway is an alternative to staring at your four walls. While out in nature, offer thanks, and clear away that overwhelm fog that can clutter your mind.
It feels like a constant re-direction that you have to do these days, but you do have the power to take at least one step in a positive direction and feel less overwhelmed. It may seem too great to be overcome, but try taking that first movement, no matter how small, and assess how you feel. If it feels good, keep doing it. Spellwork is action, is movement, is achievement. Know that you are not alone. So mote it be.